Medicinal Mushrooms – How Much Should I Take?
Medicinal mushrooms are packed with fungal glycans and other unique polysaccharides which are powerful antioxidants. They have been used for ages for stress relief, anti-ageing, mind boosting, immune strengthening. Other than a few psychedelic mushrooms, such as Psilocybin or “The Magic Mushroom,” most medicinal mushrooms are safe to consume. They can be a potent addition to your wellness regime.
But there are misconceptions about recommended dosages. Many producers give arbitrary dosages, like two teaspoons a day. Considering our uniqueness in body functioning and physiology, it’s not strange to wonder if such a broad dosage would be effective.
Here’s a look at what scientists have discovered about the effective dosage of medicinal mushrooms. We’ll also look at how the dosage relates to the potency of the mushroom extract. Finally, we’ll explain, as well as, give you an example to help you determine how much of a mushroom product you should take.
What scientists say about effective dosage
The main reason why anyone would consume medicinal mushroom products as a supplement is to benefit from its therapeutic effect.
Studies have shown that the therapeutic potential of medicinal mushroom products lies in the concentration of bioactive compounds in the product. For instance, various scientists have shown that there’s a strong link between the dosage and the immunological effects of medicinal mushroom products (1). Research is still ongoing regarding other medicinal benefits of mushrooms such as their brain-boosting abilities. The therapeutic effect, therefore, largely depends on consuming the correct amount of the bioactive compounds.
What Makes the Mushroom Extract Potent
We have already seen that it’s the bioactive compounds in medicinal mushroom products that make it potent. But, to enhance your understanding we’ll dig a little deeper.
The concentration of bioactive
Bioactive compounds in mushrooms often occur naturally as polysaccharides.
In the natural or raw form, mushroom products are indigestible to many people. Thus, it is important to first establish whether you are taking raw/non-extracted mushroom products or processed/extracted products. You may take an un-extracted form of a highly acclaimed mushroom product. But, since it’s indigestible, you’ll lose out on all its goodness or will have a minimal effect.
On the other hand, there are several extracted medicinal mushroom products which give no information on the concentration of bioactive compounds. Such products often have arbitrary dosage information (like two teaspoons a day). Thus, they provide no information about the product’s therapeutic potential.
High-quality products often specify the concentration of active compounds. Many also recommend specific amounts in the dosage information. For instance, a product which recommends a dosage like 25-50mg/kg/day tells you more about how much you should take to get the desired therapeutic effect considering your body weight. Such products often have a better therapeutic effect and give you a better picture of what you need.
The type of bioactive
On the other hand, the type of bioactive compounds in a medicinal mushroom product also matters. They are also known as fungal glycans. Different fungal glycans have been found to have different effects on humans. For instance, scientists have identified T. fuciformis polysaccharide (TFPS) as the major bioactive component in an edible mushroom known as Tremella fuciformis, or “Yiner” in China. The glycan is an effective immunity booster, antitumor, anti-ageing, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, neuroprotector, and has other effects. (2) Another edible mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum, also known as “Lingzhi” in China or “Reishi” in Japan, is a highly acclaimed vitality-enhancer. The fungal glycans in Reishi are also one of the few non-hormonal drugs used for treating neurosis, and various kinds of myositis. (3)
Only high-quality medicinal mushroom producers offer more information on the type and concentration of bioactive compounds in the product. Such information is vital for your decision making. It helps you to determine which medicinal mushroom product to take based on its therapeutic potential.
Why does the dosage matter?
There’s overwhelming evidence to show that the concentration of bioactive compounds in a medicinal mushroom product influences its potency. However, the constitution and concentration of bioactive compounds in medicinal mushrooms vary with the cultivation conditions, the place of origin and extraction process. Reishi from Japan, for instance, may have different concentrations of glycans as compared to Reishi from Canada. Producers of medicinal mushroom products should, therefore, recommend dosage based on the concentration of the bioactive compounds in the product. It’s just like prescription drugs. Effectiveness relies on taking the right quantity of the active ingredients.
Thus, it is vital to complement the dosage with information about the concentration and the type of bioactive compounds available.
Unfortunately, many producers often leave out this information. They frequently talk about the extraction process (which is important). But, fail to give information about the bioactive compounds. You’ll find such information only on high-quality products.
An arbitrary dosage, like 2 teaspoons a day, on a medicinal mushroom product, without information on the concentration of bioactive, is misleading and downright absurd.
You’ll have no idea how much bioactive ingredients are in the teaspoon. Thus, no idea about the product’s therapeutic potential.
How much medicinal mushroom should you take
The amount of bioactive ingredients required varies with the health need, age, and body weight. When the producer of a medicinal mushroom provides information on the type and concentration of bioactive compounds, you can customize your purchase to your unique circumstances. Thus, the chances of a better therapeutic effect are higher. Unfortunately, as we mentioned earlier, many producers don’t provide this crucial information. Only producers of high-quality medicinal mushroom products do.
Dosages are also often backed by scientific evidence. For example, in one study, the optimal dose of mushroom bioactive for effective immunomodulation was found to be between 5 – 10 mg of beta-glucan/kg/day. Higher doses were found to trigger a reduction in the immunomodulation effect (4). Using these findings, an 80 kg person would need 400 – 800mg/day of the bioactive in the mushroom extract to experience significant therapeutic effects.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about doing lots of research or calculations (although we highly recommend it). Producers of high-quality medicinal mushroom extracts often recommend the correct dosages. The right information will help you to modify the dosage to suit your unique circumstances.
Many commercial medicinal mushroom supplements contain arbitrary dosages. They have little information to support claims such as “1000 times more powerful.” Such claims are often marketing gimmicks to entice buyers. Other sources, such as this one from WebMD, give some information on how much Reishi mushroom you should take. But they leave out the vital aspect of bioactive compounds concentration.
Fortunately, now you know better. You can lay aside the misconceptions regarding the dosage of medicinal mushroom products.
High-quality products provide information on the type and content (as a percentage) of fungal glycans in the mushroom extract. Science has shown that the therapeutic effect is closely linked with the right dosage of bioactive compounds. High-quality medicinal mushroom products will give you this information, making it easier to determine a suitable quantity to take. On the contrary, many off-the-shelf “medicinal mushroom” products cannot support claims of effectiveness. Don’t waste your time or hard-earned dollars on low-quality, and unproven products. Look for medicinal mushroom products that provide the right kind of information to guide you on the correct quantities to take.
- Harada T, Miura N, Adachi Y, Nakajima M, Yadomae T, Ohno N. Effect of SCG, 1,3-b-D-Glucan from Sparassis Crispa on the Hematopoietic response in Cyclophosphamide Induced Leukopenic mice. Biol Pharm Bul 2002;25: 931-9
- Carolyn J. Torkelson et. al. – Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor (= Coriolus versicolor) in Women with Breast Cancer. ISRN Oncology, Volume 2012, Article ID 251632
- Babineau TJ, Hackford A, Kenler A, Bistrian B, Forse RA, Fairchild PG, et al. A phase II multicenter double-blind ran- domized placebo-controlled study of three dosage of an immunomodulator (PGG-glucan) in high-risk surgical patients. Arch Surg 1994;129:1204-10.
- Dalia Akramienė et. al. – Effects of b-glucans on the immune system. Medicina (Kaunas) 2007; 43(8)
- Yang, D., Liu, Y., and Zhang, L.,Tremella polysaccharide: The molecular mechanisms of its drug action. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science Volume 163, 2019, Pages 383-421 link
- Zeng, P., Chen, Y., Zang, L., and Xing, M., Ganoderma lucidumpolysaccharide used for treating physical frailty in China. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science Volume 163, 2019, Pages 179-219 Link
- Deng, G., et al. – A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: Immunological effects. J. Canc. Res. Clin. Oncol., 135: 1215-1221